By Alejandra Holguin Madriñan (7th semester undergraduate FIGRI student, English through Multimedia elective)
I always wondered why, if I have the right to free movement, I can’t calmly go to another country without having to fill out so much paperwork, pay for all the things I have to do to get a visa and all the other formalities.
If you go back in history you can realize that humans and animals were always in movement. They migrated and traveled great distances, and the weather, the food and natural events kept them moving constantly. However, today the causes of migration have evolved and it is not that easy to move to another territory whenever you want. Our ancestors would be very surprised to be limited by a visa, a passport and the paperwork to cross from here to there.
The development of the many obstacles for migrants began in the early twentieth century with the wave of immigrants coming from Europe to the United States and other countries in America. This period was epic because of the thousands of people moving from one country to another and the United States was the country receiving most of these immigrants. There were more and more people in pursuit of the American Dream. Laws and controls of every kind represented the beginning of the obstacles for these dreamers to enter the United States. Many other countries around the world also started to apply these measures.
Borders became a major topic on the agenda of the states within the international system. I think that the situations that exist today with the border between Colombia and Venezuela and the one between the United States and Mexico are outrageous. They are very different situations but they are based on the same issue: people are constantly crossing the borders between countries whether legally or illegally. We are not analyzing this problem at its source, we are just trying to “stop it” by closing borders, imposing obstacles, being violent and building walls to divide each other.
Why, if we have the right to free movement, should we have a passport or a visa to travel? Should we even have a passport or a visa? Why can’t we just be citizens of the world?